Netflix has a healthy streaming selection of T.V. and film from the most established genres to indie and foreign films. Today we’ll be looking at 10 gems you can stream on Netflix now. I decided not to include TV or documentaries, as those should be in a list of their own. Some films that were to be on this list had to be removed due to their streaming status being changed as of April, 30th. Dr. No, Adaptation, and Mulholland Dr. were three that were removed but will be streaming until May 1st.
So, what makes a gem? For the purposes of this list a gem is a film that stands out among other films of the same genre, and often becomes a work that other subsequent works are, in one way or another, measured against, or compared to. A film gem can be a film that has stood the test of time, being both artistically and thematically relevant today as it was when it first debuted, and in some cases moreso than when it debuted. A gem can also be a relatively new film. A film which is so outstanding in content, originality, creativity, or other areas that it suggests a peak in form for its particular category/genre.
This list will present 10 films arranged by their release year, oldest to newest…
10. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a silent psychological horror, and some say the first true horror film. The story is a flashback from the main character, Francis, to the German mountain village of Holstenwall, where Francis, and his friend Alan compete for the affection of the angel-faced Jane. The two attend a carnival and meet Dr. Caligari and his somnambulist Cesare, who predicts the death of Alan. Alan is murdered and Francis begins to investigate Dr. Caligari and his sleepwalker, Cesare.
Eventually, Francis uncovers things about another homicidal Dr. Caligari who lived centuries ago. Jane comes into danger when Francis uncovers all this and is swept away by the tortured Cesare. Cesare cannot bring himself to kill Jane, due to her beauty and innocence. The ending turns the entire plot on its head with one of the first uses of plot twist in a film.
Why It’s A Gem:
The film is the first to play with perceptions of reality, adeptly handled by director Robert Wiene’s iris shots and other devices, representing the world in an expressionist manner, with jagged edges, and painted light that contrasted with its own dark tones. Seeing the world through a twisted damaged mind is visually stunning. This is one of the most gorgeous films to come from the early 20th century, next to Metropolis, and Nosferatu. It would be hard to say that Caligari did not inspire the visuals of those films at all. It even inspired the look of film noir.
This article was first posted on April 30, 2013